Online purchases are on the rise, and frauds are increasing along with them. There are numerous techniques employed by fraudsters to defraud people out of their money. If you share your PIN and OTP with anyone, your bank account can be accessed fraudulently. Despite not sharing your OTP and PIN, you are not safe with your money. You can actually lose money to fraudsters even without providing your OTP and PIN.

Fraudsters can steal your money without any OTP or PIN

Each and every one of us would like to acquire a new high-end phone. The price of smartphones is increasing each day, so not everyone can afford a new phone. Most high-end smartphones are priced above Rs 30,000 to Rs40,000. There is a reason why so many people choose to buy second-hand or old phones. In India, the smartphone market is growing very rapidly, according to a study. Rather than buying brand new phones, many people purchase refurbished ones.

A lady who works in Gurgaon was surfing the web looking to buy a mobile phone, fell victim to online fraud, and lost Rs.14,000. Searching on the internet, she came across an advertisement on OLX for a used Oppo phone. She contacted the seller and agreed to pay Rs.14,000 for the phone. The seller provided her with a link to make the payment. As soon as she clicked on the link, her savings account was debited, and three transactions had taken place within minutes. The police report said that she lost Rs.14,000 in three transactions, two of which were for Rs.5,000 each and one for Rs.4,000. The whole thing took place within ten minutes. Even without permission, money was deducted from the victim's account even though her PIN, CVV, and one-time password (OTP) were not shared with anyone. There was no sign of the advertisement afterward.

Many sellers sell genuine second-hand products online, but many fraudulent ones cheat people in the name of selling second-hand phones. As the number of these cases has risen, we'll discuss what you should consider when buying a used phone.

When buying items online, keep these things in mind:

1. Verify the sellers

Check if the seller is genuine before purchasing a second-hand phone from any website. It is due to a large number of fake sellers out there who fool people by claiming to sell second-hand phones. A fraudster simply disappears once they have collected the payment.

2. Avoid making advance payment

If the seller insists on requiring advance payment, it is wise not to make one.  Some sellers ask you to pay half now and the remaining amount upon delivery. Paying the advance will result in them running away. There is a possibility that the seller may block your number after receiving your payment.

3. Avoid making payment through a QR code

It is extremely important to be careful when making a payment through a QR code. Since you are unsure of who the payment is to, you cannot verify. 

4. Beware of too good to be true offers

Offers that seem too good to be true should never be accepted. In other words, anything that sells for a very low price is not right.

5.Make payment through a digital escrow platform

It is recommended that digital escrow platforms be used for payment. When making an online payment with Escrow, you do not share your financial information with anyone. There is a platform for escrow called Vouch

 How does digital escrow work?

In digital escrow, a third-party account holds the money deposited by the buyer until the seller fulfills the terms of the contract. The escrow company supervises the transacting parties.

What is the role of Digital Escrow in preventing online fraud in India? 

Securing the payment flows between buyers and sellers through the Vouch Digital Escrow service ensures smooth transfers of products and payments. Customers can rest assured that they'll be fairly compensated quickly and that their orders will be delivered on time. Fraudsters who request to scan QR codes or get OTP codes or ask you to click on phishing links can be easily avoided by declining and requesting that the transaction be completed through Vouch. 

Vouch Digital Escrow offers non-interest-bearing escrow accounts to all companies in India, and you are kept informed at every stage of the transaction. Payments, shipping, delivery, and fulfillment are all handled under the watchful guidance of Vouch's professionals, so deceit or fraud is impossible. Vouch's professionals will be able to answer all of your questions throughout the entire transaction process. With Vouch, business transactions are transparent, streamlined, and convenient.

This is Fraud Story #81. Check back here for more fraud stories and scams that you can protect yourself from.

Safety is not just about protecting your credit, debit card number, and UPI accounts. It's about having control of your money till you've received the product or service you bought online!

Note: This is a good-faith initiative to educate the world about avoiding frauds like these and how to act when you're becoming a victim of such a situation. 

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